Decreasing Poverty Rates in Haiti don't Tell Whole Story

Haiti looks like it is reducing rates of poverty in the country overall, but a look at statistics for metro and rural areas shows a disturbing discrepancy between the two. In the country at large, those living below the poverty line decreased from 31% to 24% from 2000-2012. However, when you differentiate metro and rural areas' poverty rates, a different picture emerges. In cities like Port-au-Prince the poverty rate rises to just over 20%, whereas in places like Les Cayes it is nearly 70%.


Here are some other statistics that demonstrate inequities between metro and rural areas. In metro areas the poverty rated dropped from 21% to 12% from 2000-2012, but in rural regions stagnated for the same 12-year time frame. In cities 63% of the population is on the power grid, but only 11% in the country get power. Modern sanitation facilities are available to 48% of the metro population, while only 16% get clean drinking and bathing water in rural regions.

What is revelatory about these statistics is 70% of the country's populace live in rural regions, the other 30% in metro areas. So statistics of the poverty rates of Haiti overall belie what the actual situation is, in which the overwhelming majority of Haitians' standard of living has not changed in the last 12 years.

Some headway has been made with rural water projects the World Bank has funded, but it is a thimbleful in a sea of desperation and want.

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